Saturday, August 30, 2014

6 Things I'm Loving Right Now, Vol. 8

I ran out today to (finally) buy some new running shoes. I decided on the Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2. Of course, no one had them in my size. This seems to be how it always works for me. I make a decision, go to purchase, and can't. Granted, I'm limited to two stores in my small town: A local running store and a big box, nationwide store. Ugh. So now I'm mulling over plan B. I'll be down in South Bend tomorrow, do I squeeze in a shopping trip? Or do I take the easy route and just order them online? Double ugh. We'll see.

ANYWAY. #endrant

Here's a list of things I'm loving right now.

1) PiYo Live

I teach my first class in two weeks. Truth: I'm really nervous. I'm not used to memorizing class formats, and every ounce of this takes me back to speech class. Which I hated with a passion. I've taught plenty of group fitness classes, so being in front of people ain't no thang, but for some reason this feels different. Because it all has to come right from the head. And up until now, I've been able to keep notes in front of me the whole time. That's just the kind of classes I've been teaching. So then why do I love PiYo Live then? Because it's changing my body. So much. It's everything I've ever wanted in a low-impact, high intensity Yoga-ish type of class.

2) Kiwi and Peanut Butter
This combination sounds disgusting, I know. But trust me, it's completely and totally delicious. I love adding both to a nice bowl of oats, or just keeping it simple with kiwi slices slathered in peanut butter. And of course, the toast route is always good, too.

3) Run Like a Mother

Dimity and Sarah rock, you guys. If you're not following them, you really should be. Not only are they hilarious, they provide a ton of useful information. And their book is no exception. I have both of their books, actually, and look forward to a third one that they're currently working on. I'm still working my way through this one, so expect a full review later. And of course, I'll share the second one when I get through it. Seriously, look them up.

4) Fresh Corn
Oh, man. The ears, I can't get enough right now! It's all so fresh! I eat my corn plain, without any salt or butter, and it's wonderful. And there's definitely a reason why I don't have any pictures. (Answer: I'm too busy eating it to photograph it.)

5) Longer Runs
I'm slowly creeping up there in the mileage department as I head toward the Grand Rapids marathon. Remember, I'm running it as one of three on a relay team. I'll be responsible for ten, maybe eleven miles. Tomorrow, I'm set for a 6-miler that I'm turning into the Home Run 10K with Jost Running. More on that later.

6) College Football
Yes. It's here. My team (Notre Dame) won. Next week, we play my husband's team (Michigan). We'll spend the entire week "fighting" about the game. It's good fun, really.

Question: What is one thing you're really loving right now? It can be anything...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Workout Wednesday: 30-Minute Upper Body and Core Workout

So here we are, halfway through the week (and on the downhill slide to a three-day weekend). Did I mention my return to work? I went back on Monday. Bittersweet, yes. But my job is incredibly flexible and my kids come to work with me, and for that I am extremely grateful. Still, that doesn't make it any easier or less stressful. I still have to get two kids out the door. Not exactly an easy feat. But, we're managing. I don't have any classes or clients on my schedule just yet, but that will change next week. So I've just been playing catch-up. And since my place of employment is a gym, I've been working out, too.

Monday: PiYo Live practice, 3.5 Miles running (31:02/8:52 per mile)
Tuesday: PiYo Live practice

Today, I did an upper body and core workout at the gym and tonight I've got a run scheduled. I don't normally double-up on the workouts, but the PiYo Live practice has been a bit heavy on the legs. I felt like I needed to burn some muscles above the belt. Here's what I did. It took about 30 minutes:

Some clarifications:

1) If you don't have a way to do hanging knee tucks, like from a bar or with ab straps, then you can modify with supine leg lifts on the floor. Or any core exercise that targets your "lower" abdominals.

2) 3-Way biceps curls are done one way per set. So, normal biceps curls for your first set. Take it wide on your second set, then narrow on your last set.

3) What's a pushup with kick-through? Here. Lemme just show ya...

Don't forget to alternate legs throughout each set of 12 repetitions. Seriously...this is my new favorite pushup variation! 

As always, please be smart when trying out new workouts. What works for me might not work for you. If it helps, consult your physician. And of course, you can ask me for help and I'll do what I can within limits.

Now, as for the rest of my week, here's what I'm planning:

Thursday: PiYo Live practice
Friday: PiYo Live practice
Saturday: Home Run 10K (...a virtual race with Jost Running!)

But first, I have to feed the kid. And then I'll snag that 4-miler.

Question: What is your favorite pushup variation?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I took the #icebucketchallenge to help #strikeoutals.

I ran five miles this morning in the heat and humidity which, as I'm sure you can imagine, left me less than fresh. So since I sweat my fair share of buckets while running, I decided to finally take the ice bucket challenge. My mother nominated me. Mostly because I laughed when she got nominated. And proceeded to pick on her when she hadn't yet dumped water on herself.

So, here:

Sorry, Lory. I got to you before Hannah could.
Meg: Represent. You always do. #SMC2003

And please, everyone go check out Shannon at Skinny Sometimes and Kelly at New Leaf WellnessThey're both pretty awesome.

As for you, whether or not you've been nominated, promise me this: Do your part to raise awareness. Do your part to help others live the lives they deserve. Whether you support the fight against ALS or another worthy initiative, remember that we all live this life together. So really, we're all family.

A dollar might not seem like much to you, but to some, it's the difference between happiness and struggle. And if you can't spare a single dollar, it's OK. Use your voice. Let it be heard. You never know who might be listening.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Feedly Finds, Vol. 7

So here's a funny story: I reached for a coffee cup this morning and strained a muscle in the middle of my back. Like, literally crumpled to the floor when it happened. WHO DOES THAT? I haven't been able to take a decent, full breath all day. For real. I tried foam rolling...I even tried rolling on one of my kids' toy balls against the wall. Nothing is really relieving it, so I resorted to this:

I had the husband apply it pretty aggressively, and he definitely found where the strain/knot/whatever was. Boy, it hurt so good. And now my back is icy warm. We'll see if this works. In the meantime, here's your monthly Feedly Finds:

1) I am fairly convinced that my daughter is a proud member of the toddler club. She does, after all, follow the rules quite perfectly.

2) With every day that goes by, I am reminded that I'm not getting any younger, my kids are growing so fast! I don't want to miss a thing. So I'm doing what I can to live a full life.

3) We love Mexican food. Seriously, we'd eat it every night if we could. Jason, especially, loves his enchiladas. But I hate making them because the canned sauce is just so, well...not at all good for you, so I'm anxious to try Kelly's enchilada sauce recipe. And her homemade taco seasoning, too.

4) If you forced me to pick one social media platform, I would (without a doubt) pick Instagram. I love it, and I want to learn all there is to know about it from a business/blogger perspective, so I've been reading all the Instagram how-to posts that pass through my Feedly. One common theme: Instagram isn't like Facebook. So many users don't get this.

5) I think I eat too much sugar. When I messed around with MyFitnessPal after Evan was born, I noticed myself going over the limit almost every day. Granted, I eat a lot of natural sugars via fruit, but still. I do tend to gravitate toward the not-natural sweet things, too. But how much sugar is too much? Check out Tamara's post for that info.

6) My kiddo is potty trained (for the most part), which means she uses public restrooms now. Inevitably, whenever she sits on the potty, she grabs the edge of it for balance (and I barf a little in my mouth). I encourage her to hold on to me as I hold on to her, but I can't always beat the gross potty seat grab. So I'm way particular about our hand washing. We follow all the hand washing rules.

7) I'm obsessed with running the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon next year. Maybe even the 5K, too. Katie's recap pretty much sealed the deal for me. (It's also a great story about believing in yourself and doing what you can, and being proud of yourself, too.)

8) Recipes for Sugar Cookie Cheesecake do not help my need to cut back on sugar.

9) It's been hard for me to work out at the gym, and we don't have a lot of gym equipment at home (oddly enough), so I've been turning to body weight exercises. I'm loving this roundup from Greatist.

10) Is your body currently getting by on being lazy? Then you need to read this.

Oh, and...the BioFreeze is helping.

Question: What's your take on sugar consumption? How do you fight your sweet tooth?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Workout Wednesday: 5-Minute Strength Workout

Oh, hey there. It's Wednesday (but you already know that) because the day is essentially over). My workouts are off again, and I've had to adjust. We took the kids to the zoo on Monday so it became a rest day—I was on my feet all day, and didn't much feel like running when I got home. Hey, rest days happen. I deal and move on.

And so yesterday, I woke up early and headed to the gym. Actually, I woke up early, fed the kid who also woke up early, then headed to the gym. I love early morning workouts, but they're few and far in between these days. It all depends on Evan. And lately, he's been waking up at the turning point between having enough time to sneak out and no longer having enough time. Because if I wait too long, if I can't get out by 6:00AM at the latest, it conflicts with my husband's ability to get out of the door on time.

I made it out yesterday and did a quick 3-miler at the gym.

Bathroom #selfie.
Man, I was sweaty.

Here's a tip:

Use the tallest plyo box you can find to stretch your hips out.
It's like a vertical pigeon pose, and it feels so good.

I digress.
Today was another running day.
I did 3.5 miles with my girl:

I also worked on my PiYo Live choreography. I debut my class at the gym in three weeks so I've got to get this choreography down pat. I'm not used to teaching by count or choreography, so this is all new. More on that later.

Today, I have a 5-minute strength routine for you because, well, it's Workout Wednesday.

Workouts like this are great for cardio heavy days. Maybe you need a little bit more burn after a short run, or maybe you skipped your strength day yesterday. Or, maybe you don't have time for cardio AND strength—we can all find five minutes, though. Right? And since this doesn't require any equipment, you should be good to go. Just set an interval timer and have at it.

Here's what the rest of my week looks like:

Thursday: Strength
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 5 Miles
Sunday: PiYo Live

There are two other instructors that got certified with me, and we've been meeting to practice. Seriously, though. Practicing PiYo Live feels exactly like working out.

Question: If you're a group fitness instructor that teaches choreographed and/or count-based classes, what tips can you offer me in terms of learning what needs to be taught? I'm currently channeling all the techniques I used when I was a cheerleader, ha! Bring on the 8-count.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Scenes From a Long Run

I don't know how you feel about having long runs in your training plan, but I happen to love them. I purposely time them for the weekend so I can run without feeling rushed to get home. I like to enjoy long runs as much as possible because, quite honestly, running for more than five miles straight isn't exactly thrilling. But it can be somewhat entertaining if you pick the right route.

I happen to live in a bustling little beach town and at this time of year...well, there's a lot to look at. So I pick routes that take me right through the heart of it. The people watching is awesome but I can't be caught staring so I always wear my shades. 

Kidding. There's no time to stare when you're running, right? It was a sunny day and I hate having to squint. So, cool shades it was. (At least I think they're cool.)

First up: The train.

There's a wicked hill that's actually a bridge over the above tracks. I opted to run down it this weekend (in favor of another, equally challenging up hill in the back half of my run). As I approached the hill, I heard the train sound its alarm so I ran faster to see it. It's always kind if fun to be standing on the bridge when it passes underneath.

At the bottom, I found this sign:

There's always something going on in my little beach town. I see these signs a lot when I run this route because it shoots me down by the beach:

Apparently, I was up earlier than all the tourists. So nice to see a calm, quiet beach at this time of year! I guarantee it was bustling not long after I took this picture. Same goes for all the streets downtown.

Like the empty beach, it's rare to see empty sidewalks at this time of year! I love running through town when it's quiet. It becomes my town again and I don't to have to share it with the tourists.

Don't get me wrong, the tourists are totally welcome in these parts, it's just...louder when they're here. And harder to eat at all of our favorite restaurants—but it's never too hard to stop in Biggby for the obligatory post-run latte:

I purposely start my long runs in their parking lot. Yep, totally do.

So, but check this out :

My beloved Sayonaras are ripping. Literally, a hole is forming. It's go-time for new shoes. Like, seriously go-time.

Also go-time for an oil change, which is where I stopped on the way home. I stashed this Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond KIND bar in my wristlet because I knew I'd be hungry. 

Guys, buy this KIND bar if you see it in the store. It's no joke.

Question: How do you schedule your long runs? On the weekend or during the week? Why?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Does the world tell you who to be? (#pinspirationthursday)

Every once in a while, I open up Facebook and my feed explodes with the same post over and over again. One person posts it and everyone shares it. Usually this annoys me, but today, it was this little gem:

And of course, it's all over Pinterest, too. Original source? I have no idea, but I wish I did. Not only is it a beautiful's a beautiful message, too. Let's stop and think about it.

1) Remember when you were little and you had no interest in fashion magazines? Remember when you grew up and, all of a sudden, you needed to be and look like the models in fashion magazines or else you weren't real and true and worth accepting?

2) Remember when you went to college? And when you thought that a piece of paper would be the sole definer of your professional existence?

3) Remember when you went to your first Disney movie and the pretty princess met a prince (and some funny little animals)? Remember how you longed for your prince to find, save and validate you?

4) Remember when you didn't have a "smart" phone, and when the Instagram time-suck didn't exist? Remember when you weren't inundated with selfies that somehow challenged your self-esteem?

5) Remember when you used to, quite simply, play with friends? Remember when it became ever so important to play with (and consequently be like) the right friends or else your social existence would be nothing?

Can you remember who you were before you found these things? Before the world had such a profound hold on your existence. Before ads and movies and magazines—and even people—started to shape you? It's hard, right? Hard to remember the innocence of life uninfluenced. It's a constant thing, and it's virtually inescapable. We are always being influenced, even when we don't think so, which makes it harder and harder for us to be who we really are.

I challenge you: Stop and think about who you are. Put the phone down, close the magazines, turn off the television. Just...think. Lean into yourself and say "hello" to a person so unique, yet possibly so hidden.

Love that person, and let them shine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

6 Ways to Stay Motivated on Unexpected Rest Days

Yesterday ended up being a rest day. I had originally planned to run three miles, but eight hours of PiYo Live training left me feeling sore. Like, I-got-hit-by-a-truck sore. #hurtssogood

So again, I turned yesterday into a rest day. You gotta do what you gotta do, amiright? That doesn't make it any less frustrating, though. When I'm training for something, I like to stick to the schedule so as not to lose motivation. But, you know, it's not always possible. So this got me thinking: How can one stay motivated on unexpected rest days? I came up with six ways that work for me. Maybe you, too.

1) Physically adjust your training schedule. 
Get out your calendar. Your pen and paper. Your tablet or whatever you use to keep track of your workout schedule. Take the time to edit the rest of it, taking into account your unexpected rest day, and then commit to getting right back on track the next day. That way, you won't lose more than a day. And you'll feel just fine about adding the extra rest day.

2) Make it an active rest day. 
If it's a time issue, this might not work for you. But if you're sore (like I was), try going for an easy walk and then dive into some deep stretching. Or play with your kids. Maybe swim in a pool. Exercise isn't always running, lifting, etc. All movement is good. Even if it's low key.

3) If you are a fitness professional, catch up on your planning.
This is actually what I did yesterday. When the kids fell asleep, which is when I normally would have done a workout, I pulled out my PiYo materials and worked with the choreography.

4) Write out your grocery list (and while you're at it—plan your meals).
If you can't spend the time working out, planning out your meals and/or your trip to the grocery store will still go miles for your health and fitness. Having a plan will help you avoid temptation and/or too many treats.

5) Catch up on your reading.
Because you're probably reading something, either a magazine or a book, that pertains to health and fitness, aren't ya? I've set my huge stack of magazines aside in favor of Run Like a Mother. So even though I chose not to run, I still kept it real with words that motivate me to lace up.

6) Go shopping for new fit gear (in person OR through the window).
I mean, right? Leave it to new gear to get you going.

Question: What do you do on rest days?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Running makes me hungry.

I seriously could eat nonstop right now. Between the running and the breastfeeding, I'm a bottomless pit. I've been doing what I can to balance out every plate that I put in front of me, but that's not always easy for a number of different reasons.

1) I don't live in a grocery store.
2) I have two kids that don't have much patience.
3) When I want to eat, I just want to eat.

Last night, I went for a 5-mile run. My longest postpartum run.

Needless to say, I was significantly wiped by the time I got home. Translation: Hungry.

I much prefer to run in the morning before most of my world wakes up, but these days, I just can't because of the kids. Which is fine, except now that I'm running later, I'm also eating later. Not dinner, but a post-run snack.

Last night, it was chocolate milk, half a banana and half a granola bar. Let's be honest, though. I could have eaten the whole banana and the whole granola bar. (Oh, wait. I did end up eating the whole granola bar...)

My point? Damn, if running doesn't make a person hungry ALL THE TIME.
And you non-runners probably think we eat...ahem, perfectly all the time.

Check out the Food Pyramid for Runners from Runner's World. It sheds some light.

Anyway, as I type this, the house is fast asleep and I'm, well...up for breakfast, obviously.

Busy weekend ahead! No time to waste.

Today, the beach.
Tomorrow, PiYo Live training.

Can't wait.

Question: What's your go-to late night snack?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Workout Wednesday: 30-Minute Backyard Workout (#FFOutside)

Short workouts that get results. That's what you want, right? It's what I want, that's for sure. While I love spending a good chunk of time in the gym, it's just not ideal. Especially not now that I'm juggling two kids, a part-time job and a home. As you know, I've been favoring 30-minute workouts. They produce a great sweat while my kids are sleeping, leaving me ample time to shower and (quite possibly) some kid-free time to get stuff done around the house.

So, here. If you feel me, this might be a good workout for you. As always, please check with your doctor before trying anything new. I am an ACE-certified personal trainer, but I haven't assessed your personal fitness level, so you'll need to proceed accordingly with the following.

Please modify this workout as you see fit, if at all necessary:

When I did this workout, 30 minutes flew by me as if they were just 10 minutes. It's a go-go-go format. If you don't have a jump rope—pretend! If you don't have hand weights, you can eliminate the curls.

All of the moves are pretty standard, but I'm here to clarify the three I think will cause the most confusion.

1) Pushups with Knee-to-Elbow
At the top of your pushup, bring your right knee to your right elbow. Return to plank position and repeat with your left knee. Perform a pushup and repeat. Here's a visual:

2) X Leg Extension Crunches
Leg extension crunches are typically done with straight legs, starting in a pike position with hands and feet above your belly. This crunch starts the same way, but when you drop hands and feet to the floor, you do so on the diagonal, literally forming one half of an X. You'll bring your legs back to the start and form the other half, taking arms and legs in the opposite direction as seen below:

3) Push Away Balance
This one might take some self-trust on your part! First, you'll squat. Then, lift one leg up and tilt forward as if you were going to roll. Bend the arms, then push yourself back up into your squat. Stand and repeat, lifting the other leg this time.

Remember, whenever you take your workouts outside, it's always a good idea to lather on the sunscreen. And drink plenty of water. Puh-lenty of water!

Question: Do you wear sunglasses when you exercise outdoors? Sometimes I wear them when I run, but I can't when I do strength-based workouts. You? Why or why not?

Monday, August 4, 2014

#RaceRecap: @RunWithLogan 5K

Whirlwind weekend, y'all. You, too? I spent most of Sunday poolside at my in-laws. Glorious day, really. The weather was perfect, the kids were awesome. We had some serious fun—that I didn't document because I forgot my camera. For real, big fat "ugh" for that one.

Let's talk about Saturday.
I ran Logan's Run 5K with my mom and sister:

It was my first time running this race which seems ridiculous because it's been going on for, like...12 years or something in my hometown. Not only is it in my hometown, it's on the University of Notre Dame's campus, which is one of my favorite places to run.

The race itself benefits Logan's Center, which provides resources and opportunities for people with disabilities. They do really great things for those that need it. A truly special place in South Bend. My parents work for the main sponsor, so I ran it for free. Had that not been available, I would have paid my own way, for sure.

My bib:

Does anyone else have a hard time getting their bib on straight? We had a good laugh about this. It's virtually impossible, but I somehow managed it. But really, why does it matter? It doesn't...and yet, it does.


The race itself was great. The course was perfectly plotted around campus, going around a lake and past some key buildings, like the Basilica and the Grotto. Even the spot where the band plays before every home football game (which got me really pumped for football season).

It helps to have heartwarming distractions like this when you're bustin' butt to run a good race. I would have taken pictures, but I was entirely focused on putting one foot in front of the other!

Best quote from the day: "Guys, we're at 8:30."

It wasn't a typical pace for my mom, so she started to worry, but she pushed and it paid off. She finished 28:24, which put her in third place in her age division. #proud

My sister ran 27:24 and finished 5th in her age division.
I ran 27:32 and finished 9th in my age division.

I'm pretty happy with my time. It was a bit slower than my Beat the Heat 5K time, but still pretty fast considering the sore back I was sporting. I ran a 3-miler this morning at an average pace somewhere 8:30 and the back felt good. All is well? Let's hope.

Maybe it's the obligatory post-run trip to Starbucks.

And I quote the sister: "Put me on the blog."

So I did.

Is anyone else obsessed with the cake pops are Starbucks?
So good, so not good for me.
But seriously, so good:

Up next: Another Jost Running virtual race. Home Run 10K.

Are any of my local readers running The Color Run in South Bend on September 27? Don't forget to use COLOR5OFF to save $5 when you register. Such a fun race.

Question: Do you guys save your race bibs? They do, I don't...unless it's an exceptionally awesome race. Let's discuss this below.

Friday, August 1, 2014

July Recap / Hello, August!

Dear July,
You flew right by me.

PS: I tried my best at all of my goals for the month. Here, let me explain:

1) Get into a regular exercise schedule, pending my doctor's approval. 
Check. Done. Doing it. In case you missed it, here's how I planned out this week's routine:

Monday: 3 Miles
Tuesday: Strength
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Strength 3.19 Miles

(I had every intention of doing a 4-Miler, but the kids woke up and since I'm the main food source for one of them, I had to detour it and cut home quickly.)

Friday: 4 Miles Rest

(I did something to my back on Monday when I was working my core. I think it was the Supermans. It's been a bit sore all week. Since I moved up my run by a day, I opted for a rest day instead of an additional strength day to save up for Saturday.)

Saturday: Logan's Run 5K

(Hopefully my back will behave in the morning.)

2) Visit my local running store to test out neutral running shoes and/or the new Sayonaras.
Hilariously enough, my local running store had a huge blowout sale this past weekend. I stopped by to see what they had, tested out a few neutral running shoes, and left without anything. They did have the new Sayonaras, and they're every bit as awesome in person as I thought they'd be. I'm still thinking that's what I'll get, but we'll see. (I'm being totally gun shy about this. It's a big purchase, right?)

3) Put together a list of potential races to run.
Yep, I'm headed toward a few good ones this fall. I've already done the Jost Running Beat the Heat 5K. (I checked the leader board...still sitting in second place by just!) Up next, another 5K tomorrow morning.

4) Run at least 3 miles comfortably.
Happening. And I'm ready for more miles.

5) Count calories using MyFitnessPal.
So I definitely started doing this. It lasted for about two weeks before I quit. I actually really like MyFitnessPal. I think it's a great app that can truly help people manage their intake, but for me, I don't know. I get obsessive and that's something I definitely don't want to be when it comes to what I eat. I do much better by simply being aware of what I put into my mouth. What I buy at the grocery store. What I order at the restaurant. It keeps me eating consciously, appropriately, and balanced.

With that, we can do this:
Time to welcome a new month, which means it's time for me to set some new goals:

1) Get outside as much as possible (for workouts and for fun).
2) Get certified to teach PiYo Live.
3) Take a Spinning class or two before I start teaching them again.
4) Participate in the #HappyAugust Photo-A-Day Challenge hosted by The Happsters.

(Love me a good photo-a-day challenge on Instagram. Also, you should check out The Happsters. It's super cute and fun.)

5) Be mentally prepared to head back to work the last week of August.
6) Participate in the Jost Running Home Run 10K on August 31.

There, those are my goals for the month. Now it's your turn...

Question: What is one of your goals for August?


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